Dilip Kumar

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Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar (born December 1, 1922) is an Indian film actor and Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). He is the recipient of India's highest award for cinematic excellence, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and also the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan's highest civilian award.

Dilip Kumar was born Yusuf Khan in Peshawar (now Pakistan) in a Pathan family of twelve children. His father relocated to Bombay (now Mumbai) and Yusuf Khan got introduced to the Bombay film industry in the 1940s. Khan adopted the screen name of Dilip Kumar for his first film Jwar Bhatta released in 1944.

In 1949, he co-starred with Raj Kapoor in the film Andaz, which went to become a major success and made him a superstar. In the 50s, his role in Bimal Roy's Devdas as a tragic drunken hero earned him the title of the "Tragedy King". The film Mughal-e-Azam (1960) in which he played crown-prince Jehangir, the son of Akbar, was a record-breaking film in the history of the Indian film industry. His other films like Sagina were offbeat with communistic leanings, reflecting his diversity as an actor and as an artist through his choice of films.He tried his hand as Producer for the film Ganga Jamuna and was rewarded as the film turned out to be successful.

Hollywood director David Lean offered Dilip Kumar the role of Sherif Ali in his 1962 blockbuster, Lawrence of Arabia. However, Kumar was unsure of doing films outside India in which he had no say, and declined the part. The role eventually went to Omar Sharif.

He was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1995. In 1998 he was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award conferred by the Pakistan government. He is the second Indian to receive the award, after former Indian prime minister Morarji Desai. However his award ran into controversy when war-like conditions strained relations between India and Pakistan, and he was asked to return the award by Hindu extremists like Bal Thackeray.

Dilip Kumar is considered one of the best actors produced by the Hindi film industry.He is married to actress and "beauty queen"Saira Banu and despite apprehensions from the media, their love marriage has been one of the longest lasting marriages in Bollywood.

He has been active in efforts to bring the people of India and Pakistan closer. He has been a member of the upper house of Parliament since 2000 and is involved in considerable charity work for the downtrodden.

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